Ancient Kannada Inscription Unearthed in Goa Temple

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A rare and ancient inscription written in Kannada and Sanskrit has been unearthed in a temple in Goa, shedding light on the history and culture of the region. The inscription, which dates back to the 10th century CE, belongs to the period of the Western Ganga dynasty, a powerful ruling clan of South India.

Discovery of the Inscription

The inscription was discovered on the premises of the Mahadeva temple at Cacoda, a village in South Goa, by renowned environmentalist Dr. Rajendra Kerkar. He invited retired associate professor and archaeologist from Udupi, Prof. T Murugeshi, to conduct a study and decipher the contents of the inscription.

The inscription is carved on a stone slab measuring 1.5 metres by 0.5 metres and has 16 lines of text in Kannada and Sanskrit languages. The inscription is written in the old Kannada script, which is also known as the Kadamba script. The inscription is in a good condition and the letters are clearly visible.

Contents of the Inscription

According to Prof. Murugeshi, the inscription begins with an auspicious invocation of “Svasti Sri” (be it well) and mentions the name of the king who issued it. The king is identified as Anniga, who was also known as Bira Nolamba, a ruler of the Nolamba dynasty, a feudatory of the Western Ganga dynasty.

Ancient Kannada Inscription

The inscription records a grant of land by the king to a Brahmin named Sankara Bhatta, who was a resident of Cacoda. The land was given as a reward for the Brahmin’s services to the king and the temple. The inscription also mentions the boundaries of the land and the names of the villages and rivers nearby.

The inscription reveals that the Mahadeva temple was built by the Western Ganga dynasty in the 10th century CE and was dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is one of the oldest surviving temples in Goa and is an example of the Dravidian style of architecture. The temple has a square sanctum, a pillared hall, and a pyramidal tower.

Significance of the Inscription

The inscription is of great significance for the history and culture of Goa and Karnataka, as it provides evidence of the cultural and linguistic links between the two regions. The inscription shows that Kannada was one of the languages spoken and written in Goa in the 10th century CE, along with Sanskrit and Konkani. The inscription also shows that the Western Ganga dynasty had a strong presence and influence in Goa, as they patronized the construction of temples and the promotion of Brahminical culture.

The inscription is a valuable source of information for the study of the Western Ganga dynasty, one of the important ruling dynasties of South India, which lasted from about 350 to 1000 CE. The Western Gangas were known for their tolerance and patronage of all faiths, especially Jainism. They also contributed to the development of literature, art, and architecture in Kannada and Sanskrit languages.

The inscription is a rare and ancient artifact that deserves to be preserved and protected for future generations. It is hoped that the inscription will be displayed in a museum or a suitable place where it can be appreciated by the public and the scholars.

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